El Rinconcito del D.F. - Sunnyslope Street Mex

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El Rinconcito del D.F. - Sunnyslope Street Mex

Postby Skillet Doux » Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:29 pm

Case in point. This place has apparently been there for ten years. Ten years. And had received but a scant handful of Yelp mentions. Laura Hahnefeld wrote about it in today's New Times, and I... uh... hopped in the car, headed over...

elrinconcitocabeza.jpg
Tacos de Cabeza

...and had a plate of tacos that I enjoyed more than any other I've had in Phoenix. This was so freaking delicious. The meat was tender and silky but had been seared hard to get a nice crisp around the edges, and the flavor was simply HUGE. The tortillas were prefab and on the greasy side, and these were still a couple of the tastiest tacos I've had in years. Onion and cilantro, a squeeze of lime, a touch of simple green or red salsa... done. And if there's anybody out there who's squeamish about cabeza, this is the place you'll get over it.

elrinconcitogordita.jpg
Gordita Chorizo con Huevo

I also tried a gordita, which didn't hit the same level of awesome, but was still quite tasty. I was kind of chasing an impossible dream here. There was a gordita with potatoes and chorizo I had on a street corner in Mexico City a couple of years back that's still stuck in my head. But this was good -- extremely crisp on top, a little thicker and bready on the bottom, and a solid filling that probably would have shone better if I'd thought to salt it a bit.

I don't care if the rest of the menu sucks (though I strongly doubt it). Unless I happened to catch lightning in a bottle, those cabeza tacos alone make this a killer stop.

Dig, dig, dig. This stuff is out there.

I'm already thinking Foodnik Friday next week. Menu attached below.

El Rinconcito Del D.F.
8901 N. 12th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85020
602-943-5933
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El Rinconcito Menu.pdf
El Rinconcito Menu
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Re: El Rinconcito del D.F. - Sunnyslope Street Mex

Postby FoodTruckOwner » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:39 pm

I went here on friday night and had one of the most surreal culinary experiences I've ever had! We arrived around 6pm and the first thing I saw was there makeshift kitchen in front, outside the restaurant. They had the rotisserie going for the pork Pastor and some kind of flat top grill. I saw the chef peeling the last pieces of meat of a cow's skull before I walked in. I knew it was going to be a good night!

The entire staff made us fell very welcome upon entry. We sat down and once the waiter realized we didn't speak Spanish (people often think my wife is of Spanish decent) he had somebody who did come over. We ordered the
asada, Suadero, chorizo, cabeza, and pastor tacos plus the tinga quesadilla and corn mushroom (corn fungus) quesadilla.

The Suadero was my favorite taco. This is probably the only place in town that serves it. I think its brisket that is slow roasted then deep fried in lard. It was very tender and full of flavor. The cabeza was also very good and fresh! The chorizo looked liked it was going to dry but it wasn't. It was also very tasting.

Margita didn't like her tinga quesadilla. I didn't really like the corn smut quesadilla either. I have never tried this fungus so I really don't have a base for what it should taste like. I was glad that I tried though.

The dessert was beautiful. It a flower that is suspended in a round jello dome.

I have never been to Mexico City or experience this food before. Half was through my meal I really thought I was there. The place is very warm inside and sparsely decorated. It just has authentic feel to it and well transport you out of Phoenix. This place is the real deal. Also the staff makes you feel extremely welcome. They gave Margita a sample of the chicken so she could make sure it wasn't to spicy. They will go out of their way to serve you. They had to know I was in there due to the the Chow Bella article and they really appreciated the new clientele they will be getting.

I can't wait to back and try the pork feet tostada. Also I'm going to bring a friend of mine who grew up eating corn fungus and see if he likes theirs.
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Re: El Rinconcito del D.F. - Sunnyslope Street Mex

Postby Skillet Doux » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:41 pm

FoodTruckOwner wrote:They had the rotisserie going for the pork Pastor...

A vertical one? Like this?

eltizoncitotrompo.jpg
Trompo @ El Tizoncito, Mexico City

There wasn't a trompo going when I was there for lunch. If they have one, I may weep.

If their setup is similar to this, did you notice any pineapple on top, or was it just the meat?
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Re: El Rinconcito del D.F. - Sunnyslope Street Mex

Postby phxmacbear » Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:58 am

Yeah, sign me up....I recently discovered the al pastor (with pineapple!) over at La Merced in Mesa...YUM!
They're also a Mexico-City style (D.F.!) restaurant so I wonder how similar these two are.
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Re: El Rinconcito del D.F. - Sunnyslope Street Mex

Postby FoodTruckOwner » Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:15 pm

Yes it is like the one in the picture with the pineapple on top. However, it was propane not charcoal. Also they were cooking and assembly all the food for the tacos outside.. Might be against health code but it is real street food!
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Re: El Rinconcito del D.F. - Sunnyslope Street Mex

Postby Skillet Doux » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:11 am

Azhotdish and I had Foodnik Friday to ourselves this past week, and we might need to get the crowd back over to this place. There's a lot more to try, and I had some killer stuff again.

elrinconcitohuarache.jpg
Huarache de Carne Asada

The huarache was greasy and crisp, filled with black beans and topped with queso fresco and your protein of choice. We went with the carne asada, and we now have an operating theory for why this place has flown under the radar for a decade. The carne asada -- at least what we had on Friday -- is mediocre. And what are 98% of the non-Latino folks walking in the door most likely to order? Exactly. Anyway, it's a theory. I'm still waiting to be converted into a huarache lover. I'm sure at some point I'll have the one that makes me see the light, but man, you have to really be in the mood for masa. And this thing is freaking huge, by the way. It's a total gut-buster.

elrinconcitotacos.jpg
Tripe and Cabeza

We got a trio of tacos, some of the cabeza for hotdish to try, the suadero and the tripe. The cabeza was just as good as my last visit, and as soon as hotdish digs his way out from underneath a pile of work and moving boxes, I'm sure he'll jump in. We were equally as impressed by the tripe. Right on, FoodTruckOwner, this was top notch stuff. The flavor was deep and meaty and delicious, and surprisingly light on the funk. The texture was AWESOME, lightly chewy and all kinds of crispy and just completely awesome to eat. We joked that if you blindfolded the tripe-averse, they'd chow on this without a moment's regret. We also ordered the suadero, and here's where some confusion set in. I don't really know suadero. And it's one of those dishes that for whatever reason seems to cultivate a horde of competing definitions. We thought, at first, that there'd been a communication issue and we got the carne asada both on the huarache and on the tacos. So just to be sure, we added a couple of suadero tacos after the fact:

elrinconcitosuadero.jpg
Taco Suadero

On first glance, we were only more confused. We couldn't see any difference between the suadero and carne asada. In fact, we started to think that maybe we'd actually gotten the suadero on the huarache and hadn't gotten the carne asada by mistake. But a couple of bites made the distinction clear. The suadero is a different cut of beef. I don't know where it's from, and I really hope somebody who knows more about this can jump in and provide some clarity. But it was a much chewier cut, with a lot of fat and connective tissue. You had to take a bite and then kind of work it for a bit. This is what the filet crowd would refer to as "low quality" meat. But it had a heckuva lot more flavor than the carne asada, and we both enjoyed it, though not so much as the cabeza and tripe. It certainly wasn't tender, so I suspect we didn't get it at its peak.

It wasn't our intention, but as you can see, this ended up being a tiny chunks of brown meat lunch. I need to get back and amp up the variety a bit. I'm especially anxious to give that pambazo a try. I don't think I've ever had one.

We tried to get some al pastor, but they were out. So I asked about the trompo and got the story. Apparently they fire up the trompo on Friday night, run it through the weekend, and then reheat the meat on the griddle through the week, running out whenever they run out. If anybody manages to catch that trompo running at full tilt, please do report when.

Anyway, cabeza, tripe... get over here.
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Re: El Rinconcito del D.F. - Sunnyslope Street Mex

Postby azhotdish » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:44 am

Sitting in one of the private rooms at Arizona Country Club for a surprise 40th birthday party this weekend, a funny conversation happened over a plate of overcooked pasta from the pasta station:

Wife: Where are you from?
Her: Sunnyslope.
Me: Oh, I was just there yesterday eating some Mexican food.
Her Husband: You mean that Tortas el...err...
Me: You mean Los Reyes de la Torta? No.
HH: Oh.
Me: You know where the bowling alley is?
Her: Yes. You mean Oaxaca Restaurant?!
Me: Close. The shack next door next to the crappy apartments south of the bowling alley.
Her: Oh, yeah, never been there.

So apparently the building has provenance as being a laundromat in a previous life and a bunch of other stuff the country club set probably drives right past, and that's just fine. But inside, they're cranking out some really tasty tacos if you can get past the perfectly-imperfect building it's housed in.

Dom and I (with the Doux Drop) hit this place on Friday for lunch, and the highlights were definitely the cabeza he had on the first visit, but also the tacos de tripas.

I’ve said this elsewhere, but if you suddenly replaced “cabeza” with “short rib” in tacos at white tablecloth restaurants around town without actually updating the menu, very few would notice anything except that the tacos suddenly taste better. And taste more like beef. While the cuts are obviously not at all the same, the tenderness and richness from the steamed-then-griddled head mead is quite similar, with all the beef flavor you could ask for. These were fabulous tacos. Cilantro, onion and a squirt of lime is really all you need, and possibly a few shakes of salt. Skip the salsa on these – you don’t need it.

On the same level of greatness were the tripe tacos. What was so exceptional about these in my opinion was the perfect crispness that they got out of meat. I think most people that avoid tripe do so because of the texture, but if you like the texture of fried calamari, you’ll love these. Yes, there’s a bit of “funk” there that you expect with an organ meat, but it was so muted that it doesn’t distract at all. I fear we may have found tripe tacos in the 1%, and everything else will pale in comparison. More trips here for these.

We sat and picked at the carne asada huarache and the suadero tacos, trying to determine if we had received the same meat. Upon ordering a second batch of suadero tacos, we definitely didn’t. It’s chewier, with lots of fat and connective bits. These were pretty good fresh off the griddle, but they kind of suffered as they sat around. Where tenderness is often lauded as the most successful factor in something well-cooked, it's a nice reminder that that opinion doesn't exist everywhere - you have teeth in your mouth to chew. If these had been served in pre-fab tortillas I probably would have been disappointed, but the tortillas and daring level of grease saved them.

On the other hand, the carne asada was one of the weaker versions I’ve had in recent memory. It was just…bland. I didn’t get any flavor from marinating the meat, so if they had done it, I sure couldn’t tell. Even after an ample shake of salt, it was just flat. The bean-filled masa base with fine, and I did like the applied green sauce, but we got the wrong protein. Oh well, lesson learned.

I really dug this place. Saturday for al pastor, Sunday for carnitas - make a note. Hopefully others will go here and report back.
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Re: El Rinconcito del D.F. - Sunnyslope Street Mex

Postby Skillet Doux » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:46 am

Cross-posting FTW!!! :-)
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Re: El Rinconcito del D.F. - Sunnyslope Street Mex

Postby andrewknoc » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:21 pm

I tried this place last Saturday, late in the afternoon. I panicked when I read the weekend portion of the menu, and decided to play it safe with barbacoa on my weekend edition taco. I was disappointed. From the regular menu, I selected the pork and the small version of the chorizo. Each taco comes unadorned. The larger ones were huge - these are not street tacos. The small tacos are still larger than the street tacos I'm used to. The pork was excellent, very moist and full of flavor. The chorizo was probably the best I've ever had, which isn't saying a lot, but it was fantastic. I can't wait to try more of this stuff.
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Re: El Rinconcito del D.F. - Sunnyslope Street Mex

Postby FoodTruckOwner » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:04 pm

azhotdish wrote:Where tenderness is often lauded as the most successful factor in something well-cooked, it's a nice reminder that that opinion doesn't exist everywhere - you have teeth in your mouth to chew.


I had a different experience. The saudero was really tender when I had it. It was pretty high in fat but was soft like pork belly. The owner pointed to her rib cage sugessting that the meat comes from that part of the cow. If I understand right, its braised and then deep fried in lard.
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Re: El Rinconcito del D.F. - Sunnyslope Street Mex

Postby SalamanderX » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:04 pm

Nice - something in my neighborhood. I just yesterday actually ate at the Rancho market on 19th & Dunlap, right down the road. Street tacos inside their cooked-to-order section. I'll have to try this place. The tacos yesterday were solid - but the best part is you get to load up on 12 limes for a buck, cilantro bunches for .79, fresh-made tortillas and more to make street tacos at home. One of my favorite shopping places in all of Phoenix - any Ranch/Rancho market.
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Re: El Rinconcito del D.F. - Sunnyslope Street Mex

Postby Skillet Doux » Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:37 pm

Dr. Doux and the little fella head out for a special lunch. It's just me and the Doux Drop, and she'll go wherever I drag her. It's the weekend. I get to pick wherever I want to eat. This never happens. Okay, okay... where have I been wanting to go for lunch on a weekend that Dr. Doux doesn't wan-- STREET TACOS!!!

rinconcitotrompo.jpg
Trompo

Ooooooh, yeah, that's what I'm looking for.

rinconcitopastor.jpg
Tacos al Pastor

And here it is, sliced fresh off the trompo, dressed with the plate of condiments they drop at the table. Yeah, this is the best I've had in town. No sliced pineapple, sadly, but there was a lot of it in the marinade. Delicious seasoning, crispy charred edges -- awesome tacos al pastor.

rinconcitobarbacoa.jpg
Barbacoa Tacos

I also tried the barbacoa, and now I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't remember whether they were doing goat or lamb. (That's what I get for waiting too long to post.) But it was good. Soft and silky meltaway meat on lardy, griddled tortillas. Loved it.

Also, based on the Doux Drop's request, I feel evermore confident in my theory that the reason it took so long for the non-Mexican crowd to discover this place is because the carne asada is lousy. It's such a comic departure from the rest of their tacos that you'd almost think they were doing it intentionally to keep the riff-raff out :-)

I know that street taquerias are two to a block in this town, and five to a block in some neighborhoods, but these guys really stand out.
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